Malta officials are looking at revising a townwide environmental impact statement that’s been used to determine various fees paid to the town by land developers.
They are talking with town engineers The Chazen Group about updating the study, which was last done in 2005, before the arrival of the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant.
“Since 2005, you’ve had significant development activity, not all of which was predicted in that study,” said Chris Round, Chazen’s director of planning.
The previous study was used to set recreation, open space preservation and transportation fees — called mitigation fees — to be paid by land developers, based on an analysis of the town’s needs in those areas and the impact new development has on them.
A new study would look at how those needs have changed, as well as how much the town might grow over the next few years. It could also look at new issues the town is trying to address, including the need for better fire protection in the downtown area, and it could recommend new mitigation fees to pay for them. Advanced planning is under way for a new downtown fire station that will cost around $3.5 million.
“Our challenges have changed as a result of our development,” said Town Board member Tara Thomas. “We have challenges in emergency services and firefighting.”
Town Board member John Hartzell said mitigation fees might be a way to pay for completing the downtown sidewalk system, which is required by town code and been built in bits and pieces over the past decade as individual properties have been developed.
“If we’re expecting complete streets by code, how are we going to pay for it?” Hartzell said. “It doesn’t lend itself to being done project by project.”
With about 15,000 people today, Malta has more than doubled in population in the past 30 years — and it is expected to see more growth because of the arrival of GlobalFoundries, which employs 2,000 and is now considering building a second computer chip factory that would employ thousands more people.
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